This panel examines the temporal dimensions of young lives, both in terms of how young people construct their life-trajectories and future selves; and how they experience, discuss, reflect and mobilise personal local, national or global histories and memories.
Children and young people often symbolise both hope and anxiety in public discourses about the future. Since the 1990s, an increasing number of anthropologists have sought to study children and young people in their own right, rather than as adults-in-the-making or societal symbols. However, as scholars have noted, this leads to a tendency to disconnect young people from the generational relations in which they are embedded (Cole 2004), while on the other hand, the focus on the 'now-ness' of youth action can overlook the temporal dimensions of experience (Ansell et al 2014). This panel considers how different temporalities intersect at the level of childhood and youth. It examines how children and young people prepare the ground for their future selves and life-trajectories by mediating between desires, hopes and aspirations for the future on one side; and the social and political-economic constraints informed by previous generations on the other. What are the aspects of continuity and transformation in this process? How can we understand young people's learning as both an act of creativity, and as the result of past actions and collective histories? We invite papers that examine the temporal and political dimensions of young lives. Both in terms of the future, as children and young people's actions, efforts and choices shape the trajectories of their own lives and of society at large; and to the past, by examining how they experience, discuss, reflect and mobilise personal, local, national or global histories and memories.